cash for dairy, rural Internet brussels/ reuters E urope’s farm

Europe’s farm chief will propose spending part of the unused EU agriculture budget to help countries finance rural development projects, including support for dairy industries and improved Internet access.

Speaking to bloc farm ministers, EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said up to 1.5 billion euros ( US$ 2 billion) could behandedout for certain schemes this year, since policy reforms due to finance them would not kick in until 2010.

“ The idea is that thismoney could be used in 2009, earmarked for rural projects, broadband and now including milk, to bridge the gap until the ‘ health check’ comes into force,”one EU official present at the regular minister’s meeting said.

In 2008, EU farm ministers agreed a reform to revamp rural development spending, public safety- net buying of cereals andother commodities, and also set out several key changes for the dairy sector – including an increase in milk production quotas.

Of most political significance in what’s called the “ health check” of the CommonAgricultural Policy was a deal to trim handouts to large farms by siphoning cash into countryside projects, a scheme that will raise rural spending up to 2012.

EU governments may spend the extra cash that they generate in this way on a number of specific program areas, such as renewable energy and water management. As part of the final deal negotiated, the dairy sector is also eligible for that cash. mafrii scout for me: Sunflower



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